Michelle King, Staff Writer
JASPER – Wind energy may be coming to Jasper.
On Tuesday night Jasper-Troupsburg High School hosted 30 area residents to hear an informational session presented by Chicago-based Invenergy representative Eric Miller.
According to Miller, the company is the third-largest builder nationally, and has established wind energy projects in other states, including Oklahoma, Texas and Montana.
Based on past wind developments, Miller gave estimations and explained different stages for a potential project in Jasper. He said each wind tower would have a height of about 400 feet, have three blades and the base would be 16 feet in diameter.
There also are four hilltop sites mapped out and considered usable due to the higher elevation. The locations that will be evaluated more closely will be Marsh Hill Road, Grass Hill, Jackson Hill and South Jackson Hill. There would be about 10 turbines per hill, Miller said.
l Each 200-megawatt turbine would generate enough power for 650 homes.
l Gravel access roads would be required to be 16 feet across. The roads also would be needed for at least 20 years or the entire life of the project. In addition, if the roads don’t currently meet the right conditions, new ones will be constructed at the expense of Invenergy.
l Insulated underground cable is needed, and would be buried 3 feet below the grade level.
l The land for the project will be used under signed contracts with leaseholders. This also means the land may only be used for wind energy development purposes.
l Monetary compensation for nearby residents was discussed as well. In addition, Invenergy will be responsible for any taxes related to the wind turbine property.
l After the end of the approximately 20 year project, Invenergy will be having decommission contracts, that will pay for the removal of the foundation and turbines.
l A setback distance of 1,000 feet from property lines was considered safe, Miller said. He pointed out the length would be ideal with consideration of sound levels and shadow flickers.
l To operate, Miller said a small maintenance facility will offer anywhere from 5-10 jobs with training provided by Invenergy.
l The revenue would be around the ballpark of $500,000 to the town and county, $400,000 for operations payroll and $400,000 to land royalties. In all, Miller figured the Jasper community would receive $1.3 million in total annual payments.
After the session, Jasper Supervisor Lucille Kernan was pleased.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst,” she said.
Jasper resident Nick Baskiliko, of 2213 County Route 63, asked Miller if signing a contract early would meet the Jasper zoning regulations.
“It would supersede I would assume,” he said.
Miller was not completely sure but did say, “It will be an issue of internal guidelines which they are planning on doing anyway.”
Baskiliko also was concerned about if the wind energy would affect HAM radio.
“If they didn’t keep promises is there some way to mitigate that,” he said.
Although Kernan said no proposal has formally been presented, the board will have a public hearing on wind energy at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at the town hall.
In addition, Miller declined comment on how many leaseholders had signed contracts with Invenergy, but did say that 3,000 acres of land has been secured through lease agreements.